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Little advice about buying or renting at 62
Old 04-21-2009, 06:16 PM   #1
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Little advice about buying or renting at 62

Hi all-
I've had the good fortune of having a job (teaching) that has taken me to many exotic places around the world since 1970. I have done pretty well to plan my retirement (TIAA-CREF), and will soon go to the Mediterranean to teach for a year or 2. By the way, I'm mentally retired but choose to do this type of work. It's great not having to do it!

After my time along the Mediterranean or even while I'm there, I am thinking of planning to settle down in one place. I'm leaning toward Singapore, since I'm a permanent resident there, but there is also the states where I am now taking the year off from work and enjoying the mountains and outdors of Vermont.

Here is a quandry I have. I've mostly always had my housing paid for by the school I was in, so at the mature age of 62, I've never bought a home. There is something about buying a place to call my own, but at my age, I just don't know if that makes any sense. I really have no heirs, so it would just be for me.

Are there any of you that bought a house for the first time when you were in your 60's? Or are there a lot of you that just decided to rent, as it gives you al sorts of personal freedom? I'd really like to know. I need to work on this decision.

Regards,
Rob
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Old 04-21-2009, 06:34 PM   #2
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Here is a quandry I have. I've mostly always had my housing paid for by the school I was in, so at the mature age of 62, I've never bought a home. There is something about buying a place to call my own, but at my age, I just don't know if that makes any sense. I really have no heirs, so it would just be for me.

Are there any of you that bought a house for the first time when you were in your 60's? Or are there a lot of you that just decided to rent, as it gives you al sorts of personal freedom? I'd really like to know. I need to work on this decision.

Regards,
Rob
Hi Rob, good to hear from you. This decision will be very personal to you, but I'll give you my ideas and also things I have picked up from friends. I was a homeowner for years; I lived in the same house for over 20 years. I am a renter now, and I much prefer renting to owning. It is nevertheless possible that I might buy a condo or townhouse solely to try to cap my housing costs. I do not ever plan to leave the city or even the part of the city where I now live.

I'm also in my sixties, and many of the people I know, both men and women, say 50s and up, are selling houses and renting apartments, just to say goodbye to hassles and concerns.

In most areas in the US if you are a homeowner you will have to become a handyman in the bargain because it can be difficult to impossible to very expensive to have things done that will need to be done. Can you see yourself spending Saturday mornings in Home Depot clinics learning about home maintenance? I break out in hives if I even have to drive into a Home Depot parking lot.

Especially given that you are a citizen of the world, I would think it over before buying, unless it is someplace that you are sure you want to stay, and also where you can get semi-skilled labor cheaply.

A home is really a responsibility.

ha
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Old 04-22-2009, 03:34 AM   #3
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I've spent my life renting and dreaming about buying a house but now that i'm 61 and retired i dont want to take on all the hassles of home ownership even though i can fially afford it,Lawn and garden maintainance and home maintenance and repair would just tie me down, A condo might be an option as i like the idea of no hassle if leaving the place unattended for some months while i go off somewhere,for now i'll keep on renting my two story 3 bedroom rowhouse the landlord takes care of everything and its only $550 a month.
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Old 04-22-2009, 07:04 AM   #4
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That's a really good deal, Jambo. I also rent and think that a rental can feel just like home. Houses are too expensive for me to buy in the city were I live. The only downside I've experienced is that sometimes you have to move; but wait, that happens with "homeowners" also. I've been in my current place 15 years, and the one before that 20 years. Rent or own, you can't take it with you.

Rob, Singapore gets me thinking about mega-huge apt. bldgs. What kinds of houses are available to buy (or rent) there?
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Old 04-22-2009, 07:45 AM   #5
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The main drawback to renting that I can see is that you then have no control over your housing costs, other than to move. I once had to move from an apartment because the rent was rising faster than my income - buying a home with a fixed-rate mortgage locks in housing costs other than property taxes. But to many people the responsibilities of homeownership are more than they want to deal with.

An alternative is one of the retirement communities such as this one at Fahrney-Keedy Home where you "buy" a home or apartment, live independently as long as you can, and then have assistance available as needed. The purchase price is pro-rated over a 12-year period after which ownership of the residence is Fahrney-Keedy's. But of course if you decide to move then you have to write off a hefty chunk of change.

Or get a smaller home like "two bedrooms on a slab" that wouldn't need much maintenance and would be more than enough for one person unless you have hobbies like furniture-building that take up a lot of space.
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Old 04-22-2009, 08:32 AM   #6
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I appreciate your replies. Walt34, the housing costs in a fixed mortgage assure you of no increasing costs, and if I did buy property, it would be condo or townhouse. Yet, even that might generate to much in the way of extra hassles doing repair work.

CuppaJoe, the houses in Singapore would be too costly of course, but there are numerous excellent private apartments that are quite nice. The rents are more than in the states, but you make up for that by not needing a car, inexpensive tasty food, and inexpensive travel to other countries in the region.

Thanks, Ha, for your own experience and what you've heard regarding renting versus buying, particularly for older people. It helps me.

By the way, the one drawback of renting in the States at least for me is that I might only desire short leases of 3 to 6 months. Rentals don't usually have leases like that. Correct? Do any of you retiress have short leases (6 months or less). Is that common?

Regards,
Rob
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Old 04-22-2009, 09:03 AM   #7
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Didn't a teacher in Singapore post here awhile ago?
Do a search, maybe that person could be of help.
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Old 04-22-2009, 09:04 AM   #8
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By the way, the one drawback of renting in the States at least for me is that I might only desire short leases of 3 to 6 months. Rentals don't usually have leases like that. Correct? Do any of you retiress have short leases (6 months or less). Is that common?

Regards,
Rob
Rob, you could try to negotiate that. I've heard that here with the current conditions, you can ask to chop $200 off the asking rents. I've seen many people leave before a full 12 months, you might look into how to break a lease.
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Old 04-22-2009, 09:36 AM   #9
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Dex, that teacher who taught in Singapore is me. I was there for 20 years. Singapore is home. However, I have fallen in love with Montreal, Canada in the process of maintaining my friendship with a close Chinese family. I knew them in Singapore and China. I rent a room in their home for $280/month, but in the future will only be able to stay there 6 months of the year, since that is all that Americans are allowed to stay in Canada for tax purposes. I'll even pay the rent when I'm not there to help them out.

I am off to the Mediterranean to teach for a year or 2, as mentioned. Again- my rent will be paid for. I'll be back in the state once again at the age of 64, and really can't see myself ever buying. I guess I just wanted to see if there are a lot of retirees out there renting. I think there are.

Regards,
Rob
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Old 04-22-2009, 07:58 PM   #10
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Hi all-
I've had the good fortune of having a job (teaching) that has taken me to many exotic places around the world since 1970. I have done pretty well to plan my retirement (TIAA-CREF), and will soon go to the Mediterranean to teach for a year or 2. By the way, I'm mentally retired but choose to do this type of work. It's great not having to do it!
After my time along the Mediterranean or even while I'm there, I am thinking of planning to settle down in one place. I'm leaning toward Singapore, since I'm a permanent resident there, but there is also the states where I am now taking the year off from work and enjoying the mountains and outdors of Vermont.
My father was a happy homeowner (more or less) for over 25 years, but as soon as my mother died he had an estate sale and became a renter. He's been happily doing so for over 20 years, and I think he most appreciates the convenience of moving whenever a landlord annoys him. He spends most of his days hiking the Rockies.

Since you're not a homeowner with deep roots, here's an oddball question. If you're an itinerant teacher, have you ever considered booking yourself on cruise ships? As the industry pulls out of the recession, there'll be a demand for onboard seminars & lectures by a variety of self-professed "experts". Compensation usually includes free stateroom & food with an additional pittance of daily onboard credit. Not enough to enrich you, but perfect for spending a few months working various routes & ports.

You might be laughing right now, depending on what you usually teach, but I've seen a wide range of subjects. One couple taught a four-part "history of navigation" all the way from ancient Polynesian navigators to GPS, including lots of interesting photos. If you're comfortable teaching a wide range of subjects to very short-term audiences then you could ask the cruise lines what they need, or tell them what you have to offer.
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Old 04-22-2009, 08:32 PM   #11
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Rob, I will refrain from giving advice. However, I would point out that renting is a decision relatively easily, cheaply and quickly reconsidered, while owning is not.
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Old 04-22-2009, 09:07 PM   #12
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Nords, thanks for the suggestion. I did not laugh, but I'm not sure if passengers on a cruise ship would enjoy learning AP physics or chemistry. I'll settle for part-time teaching positions in the future on land. However, the idea of having that personal freedom your father has is nice. I'd actually like to get some roots, but I can do that renting, also.

Brewer, good advice. It's certainly easy to change my mind about renting after I begin to rent, but not so easy after I buy a place. Thank you.

Regards,
Rob
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Rent or Buy
Old 04-24-2009, 05:48 PM   #13
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Rent or Buy

My wife and I sold our home this yr and after owning homes for 35 yrs decided to rent and love the freedom. The weekends are ours, no constant concerns about repairs, costs, depreciation of value, etc. Not to mention the freedom to changes locations at will. I may never own another home.

Good Luck,
Chris
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Old 04-24-2009, 06:59 PM   #14
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I am 60, and own my home. I have someone to mow the lawn, and will probably hire a gardener and maybe a housekeeper as well at some point. Taking care of my house doesn't take much time right now though at 1558 square feet, it is no mansion. Usually smaller houses require less work.

I spend most weekends with my companion Frank, who doesn't do much around his house either.

I think the biggest disadvantage of owning a house is that it is so time consuming to sell it, especially in this real estate market. Then there are the property taxes and homeowners' insurance.

To me the biggest advantage of owning a house is that you get more privacy and usually don't hear any noise from your neighbors. Plus, you can decorate it as you like and you know it is yours. I think some women (like me) find owning a home and spending a lot of time there to be very important to them.

In my area is isn't too difficult to find a six month lease on an apartment, but a three month lease is harder to find. Sometimes once you have stayed for the duration of the lease, it is continued on a month-to-month basis.
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Old 04-24-2009, 07:13 PM   #15
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I think some women (like me) find owning a home and spending a lot of time there to be very important to them.
I wish someone could have pounded that into my head years ago. I have always hated houses, and I didn't help that I was not too eager to meet my wife's needs in this area.

Early in our marriage we were house hunting. We looked at all these nice houses in Kensington and Berkeley that she really liked and we could have afforded at that time anyway. But instead I tried to make her go along with my desire for a house without walls that I found with some hippie RE agent on the east side of the Oakland Hills. It was pretty much like a giant gazebo, and if there is anything I like it's good air circulation. But looking back, I realize that I was basically a self-centered lunatic.

When we had kids the father thing took over and I did pretty well- but they grew up, and then I reverted.

Ha
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Old 04-24-2009, 07:30 PM   #16
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I wish someone could have pounded that into my head years ago. I have always hated houses, and I didn't help that I was not too eager to meet my wife's needs in this area.

Early in our marriage we were house hunting. We looked at all these nice houses in Kensington and Berkeley that she really liked and we could have afforded at that time anyway. But instead I tried to make her go along with my desire for a house without walls that I found with some hippie RE agent on the east side of the Oakland Hills. It was pretty much like a giant gazebo, and if there is anything I like it's good air circulation. But looking back, I realize that I was basically a self-centered lunatic.

When we had kids the father thing took over and I did pretty well- but they grew up, and then I reverted.

Ha
Sometimes it takes a half century or so to figure out these mysteries, Ha. I didn't realize it about myself when I was younger. I guess it is some sort of nesting instinct.
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Old 04-30-2009, 07:14 PM   #17
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I'm with W2R on the housing. I love owning my townhome, especially because I live with a big hairy dog. The rentals available for dog owners are in high demand and most not very nicely appointed. The upkeep is definitely a consideration, of course. And sometimes, like when I had to replace the front window recently, it is an expensive nuisance.

At the moment I feel comfortable being in control of my living space, whereas as a renter I imagine I would feel somewhat uncertain, especially these days when some owners are having financial problems.
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Old 05-02-2009, 02:29 PM   #18
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At the moment I feel comfortable being in control of my living space, whereas as a renter I imagine I would feel somewhat uncertain...
When I/wife were much younger, we rented because we had to. Today, we keep our single home (we're in our 60's) because we want to.

It was a struggle to get where we are and surely appreciate what we have as far as space (both inside and out).

We've looked at the 55+ housing in our area, but while nice, we still walk away with the idea of "not yet". Two things get us; the monthly maintenance fee (for outside work/garbage collection) and the fact that we would not have enough "frisbee room" for our dogs. We look at that fee (currently $200-300/month - x 12 months) and say that we could get somebody to do our outside work at our current home for that amount of money.

Someday we might (not saying we will) but for now we'll stay in our current home.

Different strokes...
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